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Florida couple organizes fundraising ride for fallen New Hampshire bikers

Five Marine veterans and two spouses died in a motorcycle crash on June 22.

TAMPA, Fla. — Busy work schedules mean Jodi Woodard and Wayne Jarema don’t get ride their motorcycles every day. The Brooksville couple does carve out time every weekend for handlebars.

“It’s a 2015 Street Glide that I’ve made some modifications to,” said Jarema, looking at the white Harley Davidson he bought three years ago. “When you’re on a bike, you’re not looking through a windshield seeing everything pass by. You’re a part of it.”

Jarema and Woodard share a passion for riding and giving back. They ride in a bike group called Veterans 4 A Cause on the final Sunday of each month. The group helps aid veterans in need.

They’ll do something similar this weekend, but on a much different scale.

“We’re excited and nervous at the same time,” said Jarema.

The couple was stunned to hear that seven bikers – five Marine veterans and two spouses – died in a horrific accident in New Hampshire on June 22. A 23-year-old man lost control of the trailer he was pulling behind his truck.

“The day after it happened, I woke up and just felt like I needed to do something,” said Woodard, who has been riding for six years.

Naturally, the couple turned to local biking community. They organized a fundraising ride for Saturday through Facebook with the intention of raising some money for the riding club to which the New Hampshire Marines belonged, JarHead MC.

“We were expecting to put a ride together for 30-40 bikes and it just started to grow the more we talked to different people,” explained Jarema. “We’re excited and nervous all at the same time.”

As of Thursday, over 500 people have signed up to participate in the day-long ride, which begins in Tampa at the American Legion Post 111 (6919 N. Florida Ave) and ends at VFW No. 60 (11551 Osceola Drive) in New Port Richey. Food will be available at the final stop. Raffle tickets will help produce what the couple hopes is a sizeable donation.

“Whatever the ride generates, it all goes to them,” said Jarema.

Jarema served in the Army from 1986 to 1994, both domestically and abroad, including stops in Germany and Saudi Arabia. The chance to help veterans like those who lost their lives in New Hampshire was one he and Woodard couldn’t let pass.

“We’re brothers and sisters no matter who we are or where we are. We’re a family,” said Woodard.

If you’d like to participate, contact Woodard through the Facebook event page.

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